Lost In You - Chapter 20
Chapter 20 Preview: Impulsive and insecure Cooper Jackson accompanies her cousin to a wedding where she meets Sound Wave, a famous boy band.

Swirling his drink around, John sat alone.  He watched his friends with their significant others and wished Kristin would magically appear.  When the band started out, they toured constantly for the first six years.  John remembers it being brutal, especially on Matt.  He was still a kid back then, and John looks at him now wondering how they made it this far.

Somehow they pushed through the fall of pop music and battled their own demons.  They were still together; still brothers.  They weren’t kids anymore, though, and John was grateful the pace of the band had slowed down significantly compared to the first half of their career.

“Hey Johnny.”

JT joined him, feeling in the same boat as him.  It seemed they were the only two without a girlfriend or wife around.

“How you doin’ JT?”

John wanted an honest answer, not an automatic one, and JT knew that.  He thought about the question for a moment.

“I’m okay.  I just hope when I see Anna she’ll give me a chance,” he sighed, looking at John, who was staring off across the room.

“Well, why don’t you find out?”

John pointed toward the door.  JT turned his head and almost stumbled as he stood up.

“Anna!” he yelled before jogging off toward the door.

The curvy brunette smiled at him and waved before he hugged her tightly.  She was just a hair shorter than JT.  She had distinct physical features that always made her standout.  Her chest was large on her small frame, and so were her hips.  She had full-natural lips and dramatic eyes.  JT always thought she looked like some kind of sexy cartoon character.

“What are you doing here?”

“Kelly and Mike invited me.”

“I love you, guys!” JT turned toward the couple standing close by.

Mike patted JT’s back and whispered, “You owe me.”

He laughed before walking away with his arm around Kelly.

“I love you, too,” JT told Anna.

She blushed and wasn’t sure how to respond.

“I’m so happy you’re here,” he smiled.

Anna just hugged him again, missing the feeling of being in his arms.  The past year had been difficult for her.  She had no closure from JT, and wasn’t having any luck with other men.  She also had a difficult time once JT became serious with Cooper.  It hurt knowing JT loved someone other than her.  Since then, she has fought off JT’s advances, afraid he would hurt her once again.

Ryan and Cooper walked through the door laughing, their hands still entwined.  JT and Anna broke away from their hug.  There was a moment’s pause, and Ryan was the first to react.

“Anna, it’s good to see you.”

He kissed her cheek before taking Cooper’s hand again, not wanting to let her go for more than a second.

“Everything okay?” JT asked.

Cooper and Ryan looked at each other and smiled before nodding at JT.  He laughed finding their shyness about their relationship amusing.

“Hi, I’m Cooper,” she introduced herself to Anna.

“Oh!  This is Cooper?”

Anna was surprised as she looked back toward JT.  The two women shook hands and another awkward moment passed.

“Yeah, this is her,” JT laughed.

“I’ve heard nice things about you,” Cooper offered.

“You too,” Anna smiled.

“Well, we’re going to talk to Matt and Laura,” Ryan announced, not wanting to intrude on JT and Anna’s time.

Anna watched Ryan walk away with Cooper, holding her hand, looking every bit the man in love.  She was confused.

“Cooper’s very pretty.”

“Yep, she is,” JT nodded.  “I think she’s Ryan’s girlfriend now.  How weird is that?” he laughed.

Anna’s eyes widened.

“You’re okay with that?”

“It’s a long story, but yeah, I am.  Cooper and I…we’re like brother and sister now.  It’s sick.”

Anna couldn’t help the smile that spread across her face.  She was worried he was still hung up on Cooper.  JT had a tendency to fool around with his old girlfriends, and she was no exception.

“Why are you smiling?”

“No reason,” Anna shrugged.

“You’re happy Cooper is with Ryan, aren’t you?”

“Maybe,” she winked.

JT wrapped his arms around Anna’s waist, pulling her close to him.

“I’m happy for them, but I’d be happier if you’d be my girl.”

His eyes looked hopeful, and Anna fought every urge to kiss him.

She loved him more than she had ever loved anyone.  JT was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, but she couldn’t keep getting hurt by him.  Could she believe he truly changed?

Fighting tears, Anna pulled away from JT and headed toward the bathroom.  Mike immediately walked over concerned.

“She’s not even here twenty minutes and already she’s running away from you?”

JT didn’t respond.  His heart ached for both him and Anna.

“I’m going for a walk.”

“JT…” Mike called after him, but he just walked out the door.

 

d

 

The party was lively throughout the night.  Kelly couldn’t help but smile every time she looked at Cooper and Ryan.  Watching them together was like watching a love story unfold before her.  If it was possible to capture a moment when two people fell in love, tonight would be that moment.  Gone was the guilt, hostility, regret, and yearning.  Ryan’s face was filled with hope again, and Cooper, for the first time since Kelly has known her, she looked completely happy and comfortable.

Though Kelly observed she was happy with JT, Cooper always seemed like she was ready to run out the door at any given moment, as if she expected everything in her life to fall apart.  Kelly even spoke with Laura about it and she agreed.  Laura had to try hard to get to know Cooper when she first started dating Matt.  It always seemed Cooper didn’t want to get too close to anyone.  In the last couple of months, Laura was thankful that changed.

Kelly joined the conversation going on around her.  Matt and John were telling some story about an old woman pinching their behinds at one of the shows.  Everyone laughed and Laura wrapped her arms around Matt, and smacked his behind.

“Tell her this is mine.”

“Oww…” Matt whined.  “You hit hard.”

“I’m sure you like it that way,” Mike laughed.

“Sometimes.”

Matt playfully smiled and looked at Laura.  She blushed slightly and he loved it when she did.  Laura had the face of an angel to him, and he enjoyed every side of her.  She was the perfect mix of nice and naughty.

“Yeah, Kelly likes it rough.”

“Mikie!”

Everyone cracked up.

“B!” Ryan yelled, in shock as well.

“I’m kidding,” Mike laughed.  “I just wanted to see your reaction,” he grabbed Kelly as she tried to fight him.

“I can’t believe you said that.”

“It must be true then Kell.  Why are you getting so upset?” John teased.

“It is not,” she said defensively.  “We used handcuffs once, but¾”

Again, everyone laughed, and now Mike blushed.  They were a modest couple who kept their sex lives in the bedroom.

“Okay, too much information,” he laughed wrapping his arm around her neck.

“You started it.”

“Where’s JT?  He’d love to get in on this conversation,” Matt chuckled.

“He went to drive Anna home.”

“Are they getting back together or what?” Ryan wondered.

“I don’t know,” John shrugged.

Cooper closed her eyes hoping JT would get what he wished for.

“He took my car,” she laughed.

“I’ll give you a ride.”

Ryan winked.  Everyone broke out into laughter once more, taking Ryan’s offer as a sexual innuendo.

“What?  Oh, you guys are perverted,” he laughed.

Cooper smiled at him as she giggled.  She wrapped her arms around him, proud she was able to do that in public for the first time.

 

d

 

The moon was full and the roads were quiet as Ryan drove.  He reached over and took Cooper’s hand in his.  She giggled like a school girl.  She hasn’t held someone’s hand so much since she was a little girl; it was nice.  She loved Ryan’s small gestures.  He always touched her in some way and smiled reassuringly.  Though she knew that’s just the way Ryan was, she was grateful; if anyone needed reassurance, it was her.

Cooper just watched Ryan as he drove.  She wondered how she could feel so much so quickly.  She couldn’t stop the rush of emotions inside of her.  Butterflies filled her belly and a lump was in her throat.  She wondered if the feeling would ever go away, and she hoped that it would never completely disappear.

As they pulled up to Joyce’s house, Cooper’s nerves showed.  She wasn’t sure what to do now.  Ryan felt her hand shake under his and he looked at her.

“Are you okay?”

She loved that he knew and hated it all at once.

“Yeah.”

Cooper found it hard to speak.  Her throat was closing in.  Ryan leaned in and kissed her.  She wrapped her arms around his neck, and allowed her tongue to meet his for what had to be the twentieth time that night.  Every time felt like the first kiss.  When they parted from each other, Ryan looked into her eyes.

“Every time I look at you…” he began.  “I get so lost.”

“Is that a good thing?”

He smiled, “It’s amazing.”

“I can’t believe I love you.”

She hugged him close to her body.

“Uh, thanks?”

She laughed, “I just don’t believe it’s real.”

“What?  Love?”

Ryan looked at her and she lifted her head from his chest to look at him.

“This feeling.  I’m like a kid around you.  And you really love me!” She said with excitement.

Ryan laughed at her, “Why is that so shocking?”

“Not many men have loved me.”

“I find that very hard to believe.”

Cooper kissed his lips, “Just you and JT.”

“Well, I’m not letting any other man love you.  You’re all mine,” he grinned.

She kissed him again, and they were both breathless.  Ryan trailed his kisses down Cooper’s neck.  He sucked on her collarbone and she moaned.

Her nerves from moments earlier surfaced again, and she wondered if she should invite Ryan inside.  She didn’t want to rush into anything, but she loved him too much to say no.  She was afraid to make love, not sex, but real love.

Ryan kissed his way back up to Cooper’s lips.  He got out of the car and opened the door for her.  He walked her to her door, holding her hand the entire time.

“My car’s not back,” Cooper realized.

“Maybe JT won Anna back,” Ryan smiled.

Cooper nodded before opening the door, fumbling with her keys.  Before she could ask Ryan to come in, he had her in another kiss.  He pulled away all too soon, in Cooper’s opinion.

“Good night.”

“Good night,” Cooper laughed softly.

He began walking away and looked back at her, shaking his head to himself.

“Why do I have to be such a southern gentleman?”

She laughed, “Because it’s who you are and I love you for it.”

Ryan blushed before running back over to her.  He grabbed her and kissed her again.  This time she pulled away.

“Good night, Ryan.”

“Good night, Cooper,” he smiled, still lingering.  “I love you, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Okay,” she nodded.

Ryan started walking back to the car, and Cooper stepped inside her apartment.  They both kept looking back at each other, smiling before Cooper finally shut the door.

Once inside, she let out a small scream.  She never felt so alive.  She wanted to tell someone.  She figured Joyce was asleep by now.  She called Casey and told her everything in fits of giggles.

Casey couldn’t believe it was her best friend on the line.  She was telling every detail of her night and she was absolutely giddy.  Casey was almost in tears as she put her on speakerphone for Dave to hear how happy his cousin was.  Zac was next on Cooper’s list to call, and he couldn’t be happier for her.

“You have to come home to celebrate!” he insisted.  “You and Ryan can stay at my house.  The baby’s due in a month anyway.  You have to be here!”

“I’ll talk to Ryan and see if he can come.  Either way, I’ll be there.”

There was a knock at the door and Cooper hung up with Zac to answer it.  Joyce was standing behind the door with two cups of coffee.  Cooper pulled her inside and almost made her spill the coffee.

“I guess things went well with you and Ryan?” Joyce laughed as she set the coffee cups down.

“We love each other!”

Cooper rambled at top speed, and Joyce tried to keep up.  She reminded her of Jamie the first time he fell in love, or after he proposed to Anna, or just moments earlier when he called her from Anna’s house.

Joyce was happy for both her “children”.  She always wanted a daughter, and was so happy to have Cooper in her life.

“I bet I get shot!” Cooper sighed, and Joyce looked at her oddly.

“What?”

“Things are too perfect!  It’s only a matter of time…”

“Stop,” Joyce interrupted her.

She grabbed Cooper’s cheeks softly.

“You’re allowed to be happy.  Enjoy this, baby.  This is your time.”

Cooper was crying softly, “I dreamt about my mom last night.  After all these years, she never visited me.  I never got any signs.  I didn’t believe in God anymore.  She came to me last night and she told me she chose you to be here for me.  She didn’t want me to feel guilty about needing a relationship with you.”

Joyce pulled Cooper into a hug, the both of them crying now.

“She told me to pray, and God will answer.  If he’s too busy, she’d answer.  I prayed this morning.  I prayed so hard for Ryan and for JT…I wanted us all to be happy,” Cooper sniffled.

Joyce pulled away from the hug and wiped her tears.

“Someone answered,” she laughed.  “I’m a believer.”

“That’s wonderful, sweetie.”

“I just want JT to be happy.  I hope my prayers work for him.”

“Oh, they did,” Joyce smiled.

“Anna didn’t react well at the party.”

“No…” Joyce nodded.  “But on the drive to her house, she reacted extremely well,” she laughed.  “He’s still with her.  He called me from her couch while she was sleeping in his arms.”

Cooper laughed, “He’s such a girl calling his Mommy.”

“Yup, big time Mama’s boy,” Joyce agreed.

Cooper slept better than she ever had in her life.  When she awoke, the sun seemed brighter; her heart felt lighter, and life seemed better.

 

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*Legal Disclaimer: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2009 by Sandy Lo.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.

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About the Author

Sandy Lo ()

Sandy Lo’s personal story is inspiring. She started, StarShine Magazine, an online publication in 2001, at the age of 18. She wrote her first novel in 2009, “Lost In You,” followed by the “Dream Catchers” Series. She was the first person ever to professionally interview Taylor Swift and has received personal endorsements for her books from members of boy bands Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. Recently, she has been seeing some tremendous momentum in book sales on Kindle. She has been included on the “50 Writers You Should Be Reading” list by The Authors Show, and “Dream Catchers”, “Breaking The Moon” and “Indigo Waters” reached the Top 100 Best Selling Coming of Age novels in Amazon’s Kindle Store. What makes this even more unique, is that Sandy relocated from NY to Nashville in order to write “The Watch Dog,” which is set in a fictional town outside of Music City. “The Watch Dog” reached the Top 10 Ghost Stories on Amazon. Aside from her writing projects, Sandy is also a freelance digital strategist.

Website: http://sandylo.com

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